Vir's Archive

Monday, April 1, 2013

Unbridled Science and More Supersoldiers, Dammit (Content)!

I've still be seized with Saturn - even after about a week of hiatus due to travel and general exhaustion.  Its time to catch back up.  

Saturn is becoming more and more of the avant garde location for TDE - the place where anything goes - as long as it generates a profit.  That makes them both predictable and unpredictable   Predictable in the sense that much of Saturn's movers and players goals are easy to anticipate.  If there is profit, and an easy way to get to that profit - they are in.  Point "A" to Point "B" - pick the shortest line and you have the Satrunines.  

I want Saturn to be a very tricky entity.  Its more unified than Earth and Jupiter, an economic powerhouse, and probably embraces the best and worst the setting has to offer.  On the surface of it, I think Saturn would be a solid opponent for the PCs to face off against - but thats too easy.  Mars needs an ally.  Saturn, I think, should become an uneasy ally of Mars - a relationship of convenience.  Still overseen by an OCRI Administrator, the Commonwealth has grown strong and rich.  The Administrator is corrupt and complicit in the leeway Saturn enjoys from its U.N. masters.

While not in open rebellion, the Commonwealth is very sympathetic to the Martian cause, seeing a System that holds Martian ideals dear as a more profitable (and unbridled) field for its members to advance their goals.  The U.N. and Hegemons stymie Saturn and the Commonwealth's growth - and if Mars offers an alternative, then the Commonwealth's board is willing to invest a reasonable amount of resources to hedge their bets. 

At the same time, their pursuit of profit and security has led the corporate council of the Commonwealth to approach to a number of creative solutions to their problems.  Where the rest of the System is uncomfortable with experimentation on AIs and digitizing the brain, there is bound to be someone in the Commonwealth (and likely in Saturn's orbit) doing some very freaky experiments -- looking for that competitive edge that simple cutthroat business acumen just cant compete with.  Saturn is the place for really freaky stuff (at least by the System's standards) - including uplifts.  

Now, there is a reason this stuff is shunned by the rest of the System.  In the case of AIs the implications are simply too dangerous for most of the system to be comfortable with.  There is a very heated moral debate going on in the System, and the conservatives are (so far) winning the argument.  The nail in the coffin (for the time being) is that the best scientists and programmers have come close (they think) to awakening an AI, but have not been able to to cross the threshold into full sentience.  The same discussion involves uplifts.  Bioengineers can do a number of creative processes with the flesh - copying designs found in nature, improving upon them, and developing entirely new processes.  However, the secrets of the brain remain elusive.  Copying/transferring full consciousnesses is impossible (despite a number of very well funded projects).  The farthest science has made it in 2131 is Direct Neural Interface (DNI) - a process where the brain can interface with digital media - and the key to the success of the JAMOR-V project.  As close as DNI comes, its not quite capable of making the leap to fully digitizing brainwaves and maintaining them in an artificial environment.  That last part of that last sentence is particularly important - the reality is that science, through the DNI has digitized the brain, but has not discovered how to keep brainwaves maintained outside of grey matter.  When removed from their natural housing (the brain) the brain waves rarify and dissolve, leaving a jumbled mess of static.  

While every major power (and minor ones) want to unlock true brain digitization, its Saturn thats exploring the various peripheral processes.  

I nabbed this pic from a site - credit to Max Elmbeg Sjoholm Emin.
Hope he doesnt mind.     
What does this lead to?

Saturn's answer to the AIHs?  

Dr. Moreu-like bioborgs, controlled by vat-grown human brains, of course.*

*okay, not "of course" but you get the idea.